At the end of November I am making the really long journey north to Dundee for Book Yer Ane Fest IX, an annual DIY punk rock festival put together every year by Make-That-A-Take Records. This year's line up includes The Murderburgers, Billy Liar, The Kimberley Steaks, Uniforms, Great Cynics and Above Them. One band that stood out on the line up for me was Friday's headliners, MakeWar from New York. I've never listened to this band before so I figured I should check them out before the festival and so I reviewed their self-titled album released in August of this year.
Bloody Faces is the opening track and it starts with a short audio clip about starting things over. Probably a reference to the change that MakeWar have made, transforming from acoustic act Sand And French into the full electric band they are today. After the clip the song gets started properly and I immediately loved its raw, folk pop punk sound, which they play at a faster tempo and never slow down. This song moves seamlessly into the second - Just Listen To The Songs. The drumming really stands out on this song as it relentlessly pounds throughout the song while the vocalists sings about giving someone your heart through the medium of song. Against The Rules is a song about trying to get over a love. This song is a little more restrained musically, really relying on the vocals and lyrics to carry the song. The pacing of the song is superb; it never goes into full speed but has a great degree of urgency about it.
Shorter Days And Longer Nights starts out slowly before bursting into a full band rocker. The song does a great job at building things up and bringing them back down again. It’s about the stupid things people do when they are hurting from a break up, namely having a one night stand. The lyrics "It's just all about the sex, no I don't want your phone number, I don't even remember your name, I'm sorry I'm being this cold to you, The thing is someone stole my heart, And to be honest with you, I don't want her to give it back" are brilliant. The fifth song is named When The Poison Flows and is a song about turning to alcohol to help cope with somebody leaving. Apart from the final thirty seconds or so the song is played at a slower pace but the vocals are done with so much emotion. The change to a fast tempo at the end of the track is fantastic, sort of makes you feel like he's finally lost control and just explodes with emotion. Second Floor is a very fast paced song that is again about a break up. I'm starting to feel quite sorry for the chaps in MakeWar, they seem to have had a very bad break-up! This is the song that would get a live crowd really amped up during a set, it's a foot-stomping, fist-in-the-air sing-along.
Another Way To Let Go sees MakeWar slow things down a bit. This song really builds fantastically towards an emotional chorus. Again the vocals are full of passion and emotion and really remind me of Vinnie Caruana from Long Island bands The Movielife and I Am The Avalanche. The penultimate song Sweet Little Nightmares has even more emotional vocals; these really pull on your heartstrings and actually made me slightly teary. As they get more heartfelt throughout the song they seem rawer and this adds an element of honesty to the song. You feel like he's going through every emotion as he sings the song. The album finishes with a big bang with the song Cheers To You. This is a rambunctious folk punk storm of a song that really holds absolutely nothing back. Cheers To You is definitely one of my favourite songs of the year. It takes the listener on a massive ride of ups and downs and plays with so many of your emotions throughout the song but still manages to leave you wanting more and more. It's exhausting but it's so much fun. This is a song I'm really looking to hearing live at BYAF, there is no doubt in my mind it will be favourite with the punks in Dundee.
This is a thoughtful, honest, emotional and passionate album from MakeWar. After making the transition from an acoustic act named Sad And French, MakeWar's new full-band sound showcases a band that are really on the rise.
Stream and download MakeWar here: https://makewarmusic.bandcamp.com/releases
Like MakeWar on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/MakeWarNYC